These promises do seem to have helped create and sustain a couple thousand coal mining jobs for a couple of years, which is something. Now, though, those jobs are likely to begin disappearing just as the president ramps up his reelection campaign. This should be a warning to anyone who ever banks on what Trump says, such as the stock market investors who bid up prices every time the White House says something hopeful about trade negotiations with China. It probably won’t have major consequences in the 2020 election, though, given that the three states with the most coal miners — West Virginia, Kentucky and Wyoming — don’t have a lot of electoral votes and are highly unlikely to flip to the Democrat under any circumstances.

Pennsylvania, the state with the fourth-most coal miners, is a more interesting case, in that it’s big, it’s a swing state and it’s an epicenter of the natural gas fracking boom, with three times as many people now working in oil and gas extraction as in coal mining. Democratic contenders Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have both said they would move to ban fracking, with Warren pledging last month that she would do so on her first day as president. A fracking ban could help coal miners, at least temporarily, but would be a disaster for natural gas drillers and for the gigantic new Royal Dutch Shell plastics plant under construction near Pittsburgh, and would probably mean higher electricity prices for everybody. It’s also something that neither Sanders nor Warren may be able to deliver. Donald Trump does not have a monopoly on unfulfillable campaign promises. So what’s a Pennsylvania fossil-fuels worker to think?

This article provided by Bloomberg News.

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